I have been struggling to find a good way to load multiple baguettes into my pizza oven off and on for years. With my recent round of bread baking, my struggles have come to a head. I’ve tried the back of baking pans, short wood pizza peels designed for (that’s right) pizza, standard metal pizza placing peels, my new baguette flipping board and a homemade attempt to making a true baguette bread peel (or bread boat). I tried loading my baguettes by sliding them down the front of the peel and across the side of the peel. Nothing worked.
My baguettes were often twisted or serpentine, like snakes — even after I tried to straighten them in the oven while they were still soft.
Then, I decided to get serious and I contacted the good people at Lillsun, the leading US manufacturer of wood bread and pizza boards and peels. Forno Bravo has sold a number of their products through the Forno Bravo Store for years. And they send me a 14″ wide x 30″ long bread peel with a 6″ handle and a bevelled front edge. To get right to it, it’s perfect. I ordered the 14″ wide peel hoping that it would fit nicely through the opening of my small Presto wood-fired oven and reach to back without having to put my hand inside the oven, and most importantly that I could slide my baguettes into the oven without messing up.
And I can happily say that it worked just as I planned the first time. This is great.
Todays’ bread (as always) had its flaws. The oven was too hot and it wasn’t cooling down as quickly as I had planned, so I had to wait longer that I had intended before loading my bread — so my loaves were over proofed and starting to lose their elasticity. But on the up side, my scoring technique is improving. I seemed to hit the mark overlapping my slashes by about 1/3, and I am getting my scoring deeper into my loaves. So you win a few and you lose a few. Such is wood-fired bread.
These loaves are 72% hydration and use Central Milling Tipo 00 pizza flour. The flour and dough were really nice. That said, I started the dough in the morning and baked it around 5PM, so I didn’t have time for any complicated techniques. 10 minutes knead on low (KitchenAid 2), six folds, bulk fermentation, six molds, second fermentation, cut in half, shape baguette balls, rest for an hour, shape baguettes, rest for over an hour (ooops), score and bake. I successfully used by baguette flipping board, moving my loaves from the linen to the baguette peel.
I used a garden sprayer to steam the oven twice in the first five minutes. More to come on steam later.
Overall, I am OK with my bread, and really happy with my new baguette peel. Onward and upward.